Saturday, October 22, 2016

Statement by His Excellency Sarwar Danesh, Second Vice President of Islamic Republic of Afghanistan at the 71st Session of the UN General Assembly 

(check against delivery)

21 September 2016


In the name of Allah, the Beneficent, the Merciful

Praise be to Allah, Lord of the Worlds, and Peace be upon our Master and Prophet Mohammad and all of his Family and Companions

Mr. President, Your Excellencies, Ladies and Gentlemen, 

 It is my distinct pleasure to attend the 71st session of the UN General Assembly. I would like to sincerely congratulate Ambassador Peter Thompson from the Republic of Fiji on assuming the Presidency of this year’s General Assembly Session, and want to thank His Excellency Ban Ki-moon, the UN Secretary General, for a decade of his persistent efforts and wise leadership in support of fundamental freedoms, the rule of law, and justice for all. We wish him every success in his future endeavors.

 Mr. President, 

 The 21st century has brought with it an ever-complex international arena, where some old conflicts have lingered and exacerbated, while new threats and challenges in the forms of violent extremism and terrorism, displacement and migration, climate change, and other challenges have emerged, threatening all humanity. We have realized that dialogue and cooperation provides the most viable avenue to promote peace and security, and to ensure a world without hatred and conflict.

We believe that the UN still remains the single most important international body for the promotion of global peace, security and prosperity, and that achieving a stronger organization remains a priority for all of us in the way forward. The United Nations’ vital role in helping Afghanistan transition into a democratic and pluralistic society is a clear example of its profound impact in helping to create real change for the betterment of societies and communities around the world.

Allow me to update the Assembly on the current state of affairs in my country. While the Government of National Unity in Afghanistan has passed two years since its establishment, I would like to briefly present an overview of the achievements of the Government of National Unity under the leadership of His Excellency, Dr. Mohammad Ashraf Ghani, the elected President of the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan.

Mr. President, 

We in Afghanistan aim to strengthen the spirit of national participation and cooperation for reflection and implementation of wishes and will of Afghan citizens. Based on national consensus, all groups, political figures and Afghan elites inside and outside the Government are jointly sharing ideas for strengthening the political system and the Government of National Unity, and for the implementation of reforms within the framework of national interests.

The Afghan nation has inherited a legacy of conflict, oppression, discrimination and inequality. We believe democracy is the best solution to these problems, as it provides the only foundation to ensure justice and equality and enable social and political groups to be adequately represented. To this end, we have a modern Constitution that provides for this goal, and only its full implementation can ensure political stability in our society.

Our Government has made considerable achievements in different areas over the past two years, including reducing maternal and child mortality, increasing access to education, improving basic freedoms, strengthening the telecommunication and information sectors, improving the rule of law and preserving justice and human rights. Internationally, our Government has gained a proper status, proving to be a trustworthy partner to the many countries that are engaged in Afghanistan and have invested for security and stability of the country.

We are sparing no effort to implement our commitments towards reforms. Our well-planned and systematic efforts are ongoing to eliminate corruption, strengthen good governance, conduct judicial reforms, promote women’s empowerment, ensure effective service delivery for our citizens, ensure accountability standards at all levels of the Government, institutionalize merit-based appointments of senior officials, as well as to secure transparency in Government contracts, with the establishment of the National Procurement Commission.

In order to strengthen transparency of our future parliamentary, presidential and district councils elections, the process of consultations and technical and legal studies on reforming the electoral bodies and the electoral laws has concluded and initial steps towards electoral reforms will begin very soon. Combating the threat of narcotics is another priority of the National Unity Government. In this regard, we are cooperating closely with UNODC and other international partners, and will continue our joint efforts within the National Action Plan framework.

At the Warsaw NATO Summit last July, NATO members and our other allies pledged to provide one billion US dollars in support, on an annual basis, for the Afghan National Defense and Security Forces until the end of 2020. The Resolute Support Mission, which offers support in areas of training, advisory and assistance to the Afghan security forces was also extended beyond 2016. We extend a particular debt of gratitude to the United States of America for providing the largest share of support.

In less than two weeks time, Afghanistan and our international partners will come together at the Brussels Conference to review and reach important decisions on the full scope of the joint partnership in the way forward. The National Unity Government will be presenting a comprehensive update on the positive trajectory of our reform efforts, conducted on the basis of the Self-Reliance Through Mutual Accountability Framework (SMAF). We look forward to our international partners to make new pledges of assistance on the basis of Afghanistan’s National Peace and Development Framework (ANPDF).

Mr. President,

Despite these achievements, continuation of the undeclared war against Afghanistan and the need for security still remains a serious challenge for the Government of National Unity, as our people are still subject to merciless attacks of terrorist groups. Currently, more than ten terrorist groups who are sent from outside Afghanistan with the goal of creating obstacles for our state-building efforts and preventing the establishment of peace and stability are fighting against us in Afghanistan.

One of their main objectives is to suppress democracy, freedom of speech, and our free and independent media.  That is why our journalists are subject to serious threats while reporting from the battlefields, and also during terrorist attacks.  Afghanistan requests the United Nations to appoint a Special Representative for the Safety of Journalists, focused on the protecting all journalists, including those serving in Afghanistan.

Over the past several months, terrorists including Taliban and Daesh (ISIS), who continue to enjoy foreign support, attacked a peaceful and civil demonstration of the Enlightenment Movement  in Dehmazang Square in Kabul, and killed tens of our educated youth and elite.  They also attacked the American University of Afghanistan and other civilian facilities, killing hundreds of innocent civilians.  Based on existing evidence, these attacks were planned and organized from the other side of the Durand Line, inside Pakistani territory.

This year, the Taliban tried to take control of more areas in the country, especially in Kunduz and Helmand provinces, but were confronted by our national defense and security forces.  As a result, hundreds of extremist militants of the Taliban and Daesh, many of whom were foreign fighters were killed or captured.

We call on the international community to pay particular attention to the elimination of terrorist safe havens, located outside of the country. We urge States to honestly implement their international pledges in the fight against terrorism and to avoid a dual policy of making a distinction between good and bad terrorists, which undermines the international order.  We ask all of you:  Where were the previous leaders of the Taliban and Al-Qaeda residing, and where were they killed? At this very moment, where are the leaders of the Taliban and Haqqani network located? From where and how are terrorists being trained, equipped and financed during a full-scale war?

We have repeatedly asked our neighboring country Pakistan to destroy the known terrorist safe havens, but we unfortunately are yet to witness any change in the situation. Afghanistan has always desired peaceful relations with all countries in the region. However, the Government of National Unity reserves the right to do whatever is necessary for the defense and protection of our people.

We have also kept open the doors of peace and negotiations for those Taliban elements and other armed opposition groups who are willing to give up violence, return to peaceful life and adhere to our Constitution.  In this connection, a peace agreement is about to be signed between our government and Hizb-e-Islami Party. This will be an important step for progress in our peace process.

We believe that the Quadrilateral Coordination Group (QCG) composed of Afghanistan, People’s Republic of China, Pakistan, and the United States can remain a useful platform to further peace efforts, so long as the Government of Pakistan acts in good faith to meet and fulfill its commitments within the parameters of the QCG’s “Road Map.”

Mr. President, 

Despite our security challenges, Afghanistan has always maintained a positive approach in regards to our relations with all regional countries and the Islamic world. We consider Islamic countries to be our best partners, and seek to strengthen our cultural, social, and economic ties and to use our experience to promote peace and coexistence and present a moderate interpretation of Islam. In this regard, we welcome the expressed readiness of the Organization of the Islamic Cooperation (OIC) and any Islamic country to help promote the peace agenda in Afghanistan.

I want to add that Islam, as a religion has a clear thought, culture, civilization and history that on the one hand respects human dignity, rights and freedoms and drives national sovereignty from the will of people, and on the other hand, is against any kind of injustice, exclusivism, hatred, radicalism and violence. Those individual and groups that resort to violence, terror, and killing under any name are not acquainted with the spirit of this humane religion, and in fact are using Islam only as a tool to achieve their evil goals.

How can Islam possibly give permission for terrorism and suicide attacks to take the lives of thousands of innocent people, when it clearly considers human as the representative of God on earth, assigns him dignity and gives him heavenly deposits in the holy verses of Quran and also considers killing of one innocent human equal that of killing all of humanity?  We expect of the prominent Islamic Scholars who will soon take part in an important Conference in the Holy city of Mecca to further enlighten the true image of Islam, and declare their condemnation of terrorists and extremists, on behalf of our great religion.

Mr. President, 

In order to achieve regional cooperation, we need to have a stable region.  Afghanistan’s foreign policy is founded on the creation of an “economy based secure society.” Afghanistan is an active member of the regional organizations of SAARC and ECO, and an observer member of the Shanghai Organization and aims to actively take part in the revitalization of the regional cooperation agenda within the Heart of Asia Istanbul and RECCA processes.

 Afghanistan and all of the regional countries have common threats and interests. We should come together and cooperate to fight against our common threats including terrorism, radicalism, drugs, organized crimes, illegal immigration, and smuggling. Also, the establishment of the regional railroad, energy transit, mine extraction, trade and transit can provide an important joint economic cooperation for us. Afghanistan, as the important crossroad of trade, transit, and economic activities can connect South Asia to Central Asia and Middle East to East and South Asia. Afghanistan has already made significant progress through projects such as TAPI, CASA-1000, Lapis Highway, the railway corridor between China, Iran and Afghanistan, and expansion of cooperation in Chabahar port of Iran. With implementation of these projects, Afghanistan can reach international markets, and the regional countries can also get better connected.

With respect to the principles of non-interference in the affairs of other countries, avoiding use of force in resolution of conflicts, respect for territorial integrity and national sovereignty, exchange of knowledge, science and technology, and most important of all, through promotion of peace and lasting security and stability, we can prepare for economic growth of all countries of our region. Therefore, we request all our neighboring countries to cooperate with us in provision of security and stability in the region, which is a pre-condition for achieving economic interests and welfare. The countries of the region should recognize that without the provision of security and stability in Afghanistan, none of us will achieve lasting stability and economic welfare.

Mr. President,

In November 1946, Afghanistan was the first country to become a UN member state after the 51 founding countries of the UN, and since then seriously adhered to its international commitments. Over the last sixteen years, we have served as a point of convergence whereby the international community has come together. In this connection and on behalf of the Afghan nation, I wish to also highlight and thank the centrality of the UN’s role in facilitating an effective international support role for Afghanistan’s stability and prosperity.

During recent years, we have signed documents of long-term strategic cooperation with 20 of our allies, including the US, EU and NATO, and in important conferences of Bonn, Tokyo, London, Chicago, and Warsaw they have announced their valuable support for the Afghan Government’s policies and decisions. Afghanistan, like other members of the international community, is serious and decisive in fighting radicalism and violence, and will continue its strong fight against this ominous phenomenon. It has been years that our nation is at the forefront of the fight against terrorism and has made tremendous sacrifices in order to defend common values of humanity. We have lost many of our great national figures such as: Martyr Ahmad Shah Massoud, Martyr Ustad Burhanudding Rabbani, Martyr Ustad Abdulali Mazari, Martyr Abdulhaq, Martyr Haji Qadir, and hundreds of Ulemas, MPs, Officers, and members of our political elite.

However, we believe that terrorism and radicalism have become global threats against world peace. This is true when we witness signs of radicalism in different forms in Europe and America, and incidents of terrorist attacks in many countries of the world. In this regard, and considering the extent of these threats, measures of the international community in the fight against terrorism and radicalism will never be enough and successful unless effective holistic measures encompassing political, cultural, economic and even military aspects are considered as a universal strategic needs. The UN should hold an international conference on the fight against radicalism with the aim of introducing a new legal set up to combat terrorism. We believe that serious efforts in the fight against terrorism and radicalism are in need of exact and thorough planning for at least 20 years, and in this plan, Afghanistan should receive special attention from the international community as we are at the forefront of this fight.

One of the ominous outcomes of violence and radicalism is the new wave of immigration in the last year that has made it an important international challenge. We express gratitude to the countries that offer support to Afghan immigrants, especially Germany and other European countries that welcome Afghan refugees with open arms and with human-loving spirit. We also request the UN and its member states to have a new approach towards this international challenge and help the countries where immigrants are coming from to deal with the roots, causes and reasons of immigration, especially the ominous phenomena of war, poverty, and illiteracy.

Mr. President,

A glimpse to the world conditions shows that injustices, threats of violence, and conflicts are still endangering millions of human lives throughout the world. We are witnessing the extent of devastation and terror in Syria. We announce our full support to a comprehensive solution to the Syrian conflict that will reflect the will of all Syrians.  We also wish for a comprehensive and peaceful solution to the conflict in Yemen.

We support the new international efforts to resolve the issue of Palestine and to provide the legitimate rights of brave and noble Palestinians including the right to have an independent government and invite all sides to start direct talks in order to achieve a sustainable solution based on the principle of peace and peaceful coexistence.

Afghanistan supports the historic agreement between 5+1 countries and the Islamic Republic of Iran on the Iranian nuclear program within the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action and deems implementation of this agreement as constructive for the provision of peace, stability, and sustainable development of the region and the world.

In regards to nuclear programs, I should add that we believe, North Korea’s tests of nuclear weapons are dangerous for the region and can endanger world peace and security.

Mr. President,

Since 2001, when we commenced a new chapter of our modern history, Afghanistan has regained its historical place among the responsible members of the family of nations represented in this Assembly.  Through words and deeds, we have shown our full and abiding commitment to uphold the principles of the UN Charter, and to render our role in promoting global peace, justice, human rights, and the rule of law. It is in this context that we have presented our candidacy to the Human Rights Council for the period 2018-2020. We call respectfully and friendly on all of our friends and all the member states to support our candidacy in the upcoming elections.

In conclusion, I wish to reiterate, on behalf of the Afghan people and Government, our deepest gratitude to all of our international partners that have stood beside us in our quest for peace, security, and prosperity over the past sixteen years, and I specially thank the sacrifices of NATO/ISAF troops in the fight against terrorism in Afghanistan. Together, we have come a long way in our journey, but our task is undoubtedly unfinished. We look to your continued support over the coming years, and stand confident in realizing the goals we have jointly set to achieve.

Here I wish to highlight once again, Afghanistan’s firm commitment to the realization of a world in which peace, harmony, justice, and tranquility prevails.

I Thank You.

Statement by H.E. Zarar Ahmad Osmani Minister of Foreign Affairs of the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan at the Sixty-Ninth Session of the United Nations General Assembly

Saturday, 27 September 2014

بسم الله الرحمن الرحیم

Mr. President,


Ladies and Gentlemen,

It gives me great pleasure to express my sincere congratulations on your well-deserved election as president of the sixty-ninth session of the United Nations General Assembly.

We are confident that your wisdom and experience well ensure a constructive and fruitful deliberation on the very important and vital issues before this august Assembly. I would like to assure you of the full cooperation of my delegation towards this end.

I may also express my deep appreciation to your predecessor and my gratitude to the secretary General of the United Nations, H.E. Ban Ki-Moon, for his competent and excellent leadership of the organization.

Mr. President,

I am delighted to report to this assembly that Afghanistan has achieved a significant milestone with the successful conclusion of the presidential election including the important task of recounting the votes. The new president, Dr. Mohammad Ashraf Ghani Ahmadzi, will be sworn in on 29 September. Afghanistan is witnessing transfer of power from one elected administration to the next. While Afghanistan faces marked challenges, we are confident that the new government, which enjoys the full backing of a vast majority of Afghans, will strive to bring about political, security and socioeconomic prosperity to Afghanistan and by extension to the region and beyond.

Ladies and Gentlemen,

It was over a decade ago when many countries of the world joined the Afghan people in their struggle for peace and fought against the forces of extremism and terrorism. In this regard, we have collectively achieved tangible results, but unfortunately the menace of terrorism and extremism continue to threaten the security, socio-economic development and peace not only in Afghanistan but also in the region. There is an urgent need for a comprehensive response to the threats from terrorism and extremism at regional and international levels.

Today, Afghanistan has credible political institutions, and elected parliament, a constitution and elected provincial council, supported by the brave Afghan National Security Forces. The people of Afghanistan have witnessed many positive achievements in past decade including in the fields of socioeconomic development, education – especially education for our girls – health, communications and information technology, promotion and protection of humans rights including particularly women’s rights. Afghanistan has one of the most dynamic media scenes in the region, which is propelled by the freedom of expression that the Afghan people enjoyed for over a decade. We should underscore the pioneering spirit of our youth who are behind much of the innovativeness and diversity of thought in academia and private sector.

The Afghan people appreciate and are thankful to the international community for their vital support they have given to built security, peace and prosperity in Afghanistan, we are looking forward to a continued mutual cooperation with the international community to protect our achievements and ensure the sustainability of a strong partnership.

Mr. President,

The transfer of security responsibilities from International forces to the Afghan National Security Forces for the whole of Afghanistan that was launched in the summer of 2011 will be achieved by the end of 2014.

As we speak, Afghan forces are providing security independently across the country despite increasing acts of terrorism inside Afghanistan with support from terrorists from beyond our borders. The growing levels of violent extremism and alarming developments in the Middle East and other parts of the world make international support to NATO mission in Afghanistan even more imperative.

Parallel to our ongoing efforts to enhance the capacity and capabilities of our National Security forces, the Afghan Government is also pursuing a dialogue for achieving peace through political means and reconciliation. We have put in place clear conditions to this process to be accepted by the Afghan people:  for instance we demand renunciations of violence and respect for Afghanistan’s Constitution as it guarantees full and equal rights to Afghan men and women, and is the only tool for preservation of our collective achievements of the past decade.

Afghanistan strongly believes in comprehensive, long term, friendly and good-neighborly relations between Pakistan and Afghanistan in the fight against terrorism and strengthening of peace and stability between two nations and in the region.

At the same time, we would like to express our serious concern over the rocket attacks by Pakistani forces into Afghanistan’s soil. Continuation of such attacks is unacceptable for Afghanistan. We hope that the government of Pakistan, considering our common interests in ensuring peace and stability, put an end to any kind of acts that can endanger the outlook of good neighborly relations and to protect cooperation and trust between our two nations.

Mr. President,

The Afghan government is keen to reduce the negative economic impact of the security transition and to move towards sustainable economic development in at least three ways:

First, by focusing on the development of agriculture and agribusiness sectors where over 70 percent of our population is directly or indirectly engaged with enormous potential for growth and employment generation

Second, Afghanistan is estimated to hold trillions of dollars of natural resources including minerals and hydrocarbons, representing a guaranteed source of wealth and income for generations to come. We already have several state-owned and private companies from China, India, the UK, Canada, Turkey, the UAE, Azerbaijan and other countries in addition to Afghan companies expressing a keen interest in investing billions of dollars.

Third, Afghanistan is now on the eve of transformation decade (2015-2024), which is a multi-dimensional process in security, political and economic fronts. Therefore, the 2012 Tokyo and Chicago Conferences’ pledges will maintain the Afghan government overall socioeconomic efforts. Afghanistan critically needs continuation of this generous support from its international partners over the next few years.

Mr. President, Ladies and Gentlemen,

Based on Afghanistan’s Millennium Development Goals report published in late 2013, progress in achieving most of the MDG’s targets in particular related to the health and universal primary education is commendable.

Despite of starting in 2005, Afghanistan is committed to achieve most of the MDGs by 2020. Meanwhile, national consultation is underway to synchronize efforts towards achieving MDGs off track targets considering the outcome of the Open Working Group on Sustainable Development Goals.

As we embark on the important task of crafting the new development agenda for post-2015 at this session, I am happy to inform you that it also coincides with Afghanistan’s transformation decade 2015-2025.  Both are top priorities for Afghanistan’s national development agenda.

We appreciate the work of the United Nations in recognizing the need to reduce the number of the Sustainable Development Goals to an affordable, achievable and realistic number in the post-2015 development agenda. We are of the view that this agenda should leave no one behind, it should be adaptable to both global and local settings and it should have sustainable development and poverty eradication at its center.

Ladies and Gentlemen,

Our region is blessed with vast resources and opportunities for economic cooperation. An expanded level of regional cooperation can serve both economic and security purposes. The Afghan Government’s regional economic cooperation strategic goal is to establish Regional Economic growth and resource corridors that connect – the Silk Roads through Afghanistan – the people of South and Central Asia, the Middle East and their key economic activities, including agriculture, light manufacturing, and mineral extraction, with essential trade, transit, and energy enablers.

Regional cooperation is one of our priorities. The Heart of Asia- Istanbul process is a significant step towards enhancing stability and regional cooperation between Afghanistan and 12 participating countries, with the support of 12 other country partners and 9 international organizations.

Mr. President,

This year’s General Assembly takes place at a time when the UN has seen a number of conflicts continue, while new ones have taken shape.

My government fully supports the inalienable right of the Palestinian people and the establishment of the independent Palestinian State with Jerusalem as its capital. We strongly condemn illegal actions and violations by the occupying power against the Palestinians as a whole, especially the ongoing disproportionate and indiscriminate attacks on the innocent Palestinian civilians.

We express our grief for the killing of innocent civilians in Syria and support a political resolution, reached through a broad based national dialogue that meets the aspiration of all the Syrians.

With the worsening security situation in IRAQ and Libya, we strongly condemn the actions of the ISIS and its brutality and call for joint efforts to defeat this evil. In this context, I call upon the United Nations to take appropriated actions within its mandate to uphold international peace and security.

My delegation believes that there is urgent need for the international community to pay attention to the resolution of the crisis in Ukraine, while taking into account the situation of civilians.

Mr. President,

In the end, let me assure you that Afghanistan remains committed to its national and international responsibilities and obligations. We reaffirm our strong will for further strengthening of democracy, good governance including, further strengthening rule of law, accountability and transparency, promotion and protection of human rights, particularly woman rights; justice reforms, and the fight against terrorism, narcotic drugs, corruption and eradication of poverty.

Thank you.

H.E. Zarar Ahmad Osmani, Minister for Foreign Affairs of Afghanistan, addresses the general debate of the sixty-ninth session of the General Assembly.

H.E. Zarar Ahmad Osmani, Minister for Foreign Affairs of Afghanistan, addresses the general debate of the sixty-ninth session of the General Assembly.

19th Session of the Commission on Sustainable Development High-Level Segment Roundtable 4 Transportation

Statement By  H.E. Abdul Hadi Arghandehwal

Minister of Economy

Islamic Republic of Afghanistan

19th Session of the Commission on Sustainable Development

High-Level Segment Roundtable 4


بسم الله الرحمن الرحیم

Mr. Chairman,

We align our self with the position of the G77 and China and thank the panelists for their excellent presentations. We also express our appreciation to the Secretary-General for his Report on transportation, which will certainly play an important role for our deliberations Our gratitude also goes  to Bureau of CSD-19  and the organizers of the nineteen-session of the Commission for Sustainable Development.

Mr. Co-chairs,

After more than three decades of conflict, Afghanistan faces steep challenges in the construction and restoration of its transportation sector to promote economic development and improve the living standard of its people.  Afghan transportation, particularly aviation, road, and rail, are central to reconstruction and peacebuilding efforts. Throughout the peacebuilding process and in consideration of both increased population growth and the continued development of urban and rural spaces, Afghanistan’s transportation needs will greatly increase over the next few years.  This growth necessitates the development of an increased infrastructure for transportation options.

The impact of 30 years of conflict on Afghanistan’s transportation infrastructure must not be taken lightly.  Much of the country’s transportation infrastructure has been destroyed, leaving behind damaged roads and structures.  Further, the turmoil has turned away international air carriers and other sectors from investing in or servicing Afghanistan’s transportation needs. In this regard, Afghanistan faces a number of key challenges in the development of our transportation sector.  These challenges include the legacy of destruction and deterioration that has resulted from prolonged conflict, insufficient and unreliable funding for the reconstruction and development of transportation systems, and a poorly developed consulting and contracting industry.

The government of the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan’s strategic vision and goal for the transport sector is to have a safe, integrated transportation network that ensures connectivity and that enables low-cost and reliable movement of people and goods domestically as well as to and from foreign destinations. This will give impetus to economic growth and employment generation and help integrate Afghanistan into the global economy. A high priority is to have in place an efficient and viable road transportation network for achieving economic growth and poverty reduction, particularly in rural areas.

In addition, economic growth is a fundamental requirement for peacebuilding and stability in Afghanistan, which is only possible through the strategic development of the Afghan transportation sector.  Currently, the government of Afghanistan is working to develop and complete a network of regional roads to connect to neighboring countries, the coordination of funding for the implementation of projects, quality control and the development of a sustained operation and maintenance of roads, organizational strengthening and capacity building of technical staff, and strengthening the role and relation of private sector in road construction and maintenance.  In this pursuit, Afghanistan would greatly benefit from increased support from the international community including the transfer of technology and capacity building, especially in pursuit of sustainable transportation systems.

  1. I. Roads,

Afghanistan’s road network is comprised of 3442 km of regional highways, 4802 km of national highways, 9600 km of provincial roads and 17000 km of rural roads.

  1. The regional highways network largely consist of our ring road (Kabul – Kandahar –Heart –Faryab Mazar-e-sharif – Kabul) and the regional link roads which foster trade and economic linkages between Afghanistan and the neighboring countries of Iran, Pakistan, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan and Uzbekistan.
  2. National highways connect regional highways to provincial capitals. These roads are vital, as they provide trade and commerce linkages and contribution to stability and economic growth of the country. About 2989 km has been completed and 1813 km still remains to be built.
  3. Provincial roads connect district headquarters with respective provincial capitals, and cover 9600 km. So far, 9528 km of these roads have been constructed.

Key priority of the sector:

  • Road network development and completion of our ring road and regional highways to connect Afghanistan with all our neighboring countries of Iran, Pakistan, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan and Uzbekistan.
  • Design of the priority projects and coordinate funding from various donors for implementation of the projects.
  • Quality control and development of a sustained operation and maintenance of the roads.
  • Organization strengthening and capacity building of our technical staff.
  • Strengthening the role of the private sector in road construction and maintenance.

The country faces the following major challenges:

Insufficient and unreliable funding for the reconstruction and development of the transport system

  • A poorly developed consulting and contracting industry;
  • War – damaged roads and structures and significant deterioration due to lack of maintenance;

Future investment plan;

Our ministry of public works has prepared a Road Sector Strategy which is cost USD 5.2 billion. This strategy envisions increasing the regional highways, national highways and provincial roads to 9000 km. mean while a special focus will give to quality control, institutional capacity development and maintenance of the roads.

  1. II. Railways network;

Railways Survey and Design: The feasibility study of 1225 km of railways has been conducted of which;

  • 124 km railway link Iran border to Heart  is in progress about 61 km is almost completed
  • 75 km railway which links Hiratan to Mazar-e-sharif 95% construction has been completed.
  • Contract between government of Afghanistan and Chinese Company contracted the Aynak cooper mine has been signed to conduct the feasibility study of an estimated 930 km railway line linking central Asian countries with south Asian countries.

Planned railways projects: (total 3379 km railways)

  • Kunduz – Herat railway 1117 km
  • Kunduz – Kabul – Jalalabad railway 930 km
  • Jalalabad – Torkham railway 85 km
  • Kandahar – Chaman – Spinboldak railway 107 km
  • Herat – Farah – Lashkargh – Kandahar railway 1140 km
  • Nemroz – Delaram – Zarange 264 km

The Afghan government is also striving to build trade facilities and infrastructure in order to foster regional trade and economic linkages between Afghanistan and neighboring countries of Iran, Pakistan, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan and Uzbekistan. The government of Afghanistan has now established modernized custom facilities to mentioned neighbor countries.

In addition, significant progress has been made toward the simplification and harmonization of laws and regulation regarding transportation and trade.  Particularly, 27 customs procedures have been simplified and streamlined in order to facilitate trade.

  1. Civil aviation;

There are 47 airports. Approximately 10 of these have paved runways.

* Kabul International Airport (3500 m runway) is the nation’s largest airport and the primary hub for international civilian flights.

* Kandahar International Airport (3200 m runway) is a dual-use airport serving southern Afghanistan.

* Mazari Sharif Airport (3100 m runway) is a dual-use airport serving the northern and central portions of the country.

* Herat Airport (2600 m runway) is the primary civil airport for the western portion of the country.

* Jalalabad Airport (1800 m runway)

Afghanistan’s government priorities include the upgrading of Kabul Airport to an international airport that meets ICAO standards along with the upgrading of Herat, Mazari Sharif and Jalalabad airports to international standards.

We are trying to create an enabling environment for investment in Afghanistan’s transportation sector. Our national road and railway programs have been precisely designed to contribute to regional connectivity. The completion of various segments of railways in Afghanistan, which are under different phases of feasibility study, design and construction, will have a crucial role in strengthening cooperation and connectivity.

Thank you